Seven Seeds of Summer
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Waldorf Press
Date of Publication: March 15, 2014
Number of pages: 332
Word Count: 66,420
Cover Artist: Karen Davis and Terri Cooper
Seven Seeds of Summer follows the story of Summer, a college art student who has grown up in a house full of Greek mythology and legends. Summer grew up with a love for the darkest of all Gods: Hades, which caused tension between her and her mother. Summer comes home to Point Judith, Rhode Island, to find a mysterious figure on their family beach. The figure comes to her with questions about a familiar myth of her childhood: of Persephone and Hades. He proceeds to tell her of a new version of the story with a different ending that Summer never knew; an ending that includes herself.
A trip to Greece leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of the strange figure whom she had met before. He takes her on a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, to the lowest point of Greece where his lair awaits: The Underworld. Determined to find out the secret of herself and her piece in the story, Summer goes with him, and tries to make herself at home in his world.
Summer has to decide to follow her heart or follow the same footsteps of the mysterious woman in her past life.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/klFPgDuwwSY
Excerpt Chapter One
I could hear my friend, Maggie shouting my name across campus. There wasn’t one person who hadn’t heard my name. My cheeks heated with my embarrassment and I slowly turned to see Maggie running toward me. Her brown hair billowing in her face as her loose ponytail fell apart. I caught myself grinning at seeing her dressed in her paint-splotched overalls again. She was always adamant that they were her lucky painting clothes. It was all I ever saw Maggie wear to classes. She advertised “artist.”
“Hey Maggie,” I murmured, giving her a small smile. I clung to my over sized sketchbook and waited for her to catch her breath.
“Are you going home now?” she asked me, pushing her hands on her waist, looking as if it was all she could do to hold herself up, either from the all-nighter that she more than likely had in finishing her project, or the fatigue in wrapping up the semester and packing to go home. I gave her a curt nod and turned my head in the direction of my mother, seeing her stuffing in one of the last boxes from my dorm room into her car. Spring semester was finally over, and I was officially considered a sophomore in college. Thank God. No more “annoying freshman” classification.
“Aw, that’s too bad. A bunch of us from Sketch class were going to head over to Rusty's Grill for a goodbye lunch,” she said as she pushed her bangs from her face. I noticed her hands were still dirty from painting. I wondered how long she had been in the studio overnight working on the last project of the year – the one due this morning. I let out a sigh and shrugged.
“I’m sorry, Maggie. My mom and I have a long drive,” I glanced over in my mother’s direction again. She was standing by the car with her arms folded over her chest, expectantly looking at Maggie and me. “I better get going. I’m sorry for leaving in such a rush. I’ll keep in touch with you over the summer.” I lied as best as I could. It was hard to walk away from a person that only wanted to be my friend. I just didn’t want any friends. I had spent the entire year in the studio, painting, drawing, painting, and drawing. Lunch and dinners usually consisted of me, alone; grabbing something from the Quick-Fix in the student center and taking it to my dorm room. Usually, that was the only time my roommate saw me. I must have made Rachel’s life very easy.
For the next year, I applied for a single, so I could set up my easel and paint into the wee hours of the morning and not have to worry about bothering someone with the stenches of paint, or the tiny trickle of classical music escaping from my computer.
“Who was that?” my mother asked me as we climbed into her silver 1990 Honda Accord.
“That was just Maggie,” I murmured, pushing my pillow towards my feet as I reached for my seat belt. “She was in a few of my art classes with me.” I clicked the seat belt into place and pulled the pillow back up into my lap.
“You never mentioned a Maggie,” my mother said, glancing over her shoulder as she backed out of the parking lot and started to drive toward the exit of the Institute.
“I never had to mention a Maggie,” I said, pushing my pillow against the window and leaning on it. I knew what was coming next. My mother was going to tell me how much she wished I had made friends at school, and if I applied myself more, I would be happier. In her mind, not so alone, but I enjoyed being alone, for the most part.
“Honey, I think friends would be something positive in your life. You need friends. You always do everything alone. Every time either your father or I would call you, you were always alone. Always in the studio. Always doing something. You never even tried to be friends with your roommate.”
“You don’t know that!” I growled and closed my eyes, wanting her to drop it.
“I do know it, Summer. If you just tried hard enough, you could be so much happier. You have so much potential to do so many great things, and meet people. If you don't try hard, you'll never have those opportunities."
“I don’t want friends, Mom. I just want my art degree and to move on, get a job and live.”
“But you are living,” she argued. “What do you think you’re doing now? This is life, honey. This is it. We didn’t just fork over the money to The New England Art Institute for you to just sit in a studio…”
“I thought you were paying for my education. For my future, to get a great job in something I love to do. Not make friends.”
“We thought this place would open you up, and give you a chance to test your social skills.”
“I’ve been evaluated and measured, and ta-dah, I have none,” I said improvising one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies.
“You don’t have to be so negative all the time,” my mother sighed, pushing her sunglasses over her eyes.
I could tell this was going to be a long drive. The New England Art Institute was only an hour away from Point Judith, where we lived in a small house by the ocean. It was probably my favorite place in the whole world. There was nothing but ocean, and sand, and more opportunities to paint quietly.
“Your father is back in Greece,” my mother murmured after a few minutes of nothing but the silence and the soft hum of the air conditioner.
“Again?” I asked, opening my eyes to glance at her. She nodded, not looking away from the road. “He was called out about three days ago. They found something more on the Hades location.”
“Yes,” she said with a grin. “Elis.”
“They found something more than rock and rubble?”
“Well, they just asked your father to come out and give his opinion on their recent findings. I’m not even sure what exactly they wanted him to look at.”
“Rock and rubble,” I finished, lowering my head back down onto my pillow. My family loved anything that had to do with Greek Mythology. Our house was filled with relics, and pictures of relics, statues, and temples. My mother was fascinated by Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. I was sure it was because my mother was in love with the idea of love. She lived for Valentine’s Day and stories of Cupid, and was fascinated by how love worked in stranger’s lives. It could have been the fact that she was a psychologist and loved studying people, but I had a feeling the reasons for her fascination delved much deeper than what surfaced.
There were pictures that littered our fridge and our hallways of my parents in their younger years, posing in front of all sorts of different temples. I imagine this is where or why my mother began her fascination with the Greek Gods and Goddesses. It must have started out as just an admiration, until she started to pray to them. The only part of her decision to pray to them that bothered her was my growing adoration for Hades through my childhood, into my adolescent years. I had the freedom to explore and learn more about my dark friend, and even at times, prayed to him in the quietness of my mind.
I started at a very young age, after being told of the story of Hades and his love, Persephone. In my eyes, he was the perfect man. I became obsessed with him.
“Do you have to be so morbid?” my mother asked me when I told her of my fascination in our kitchen one morning. “Can’t you choose another God to like?”
“Why should I have to? You can't make fun of me for liking him when you decided against going to church like all the other normal families.” I asked, hoping I'd make my point with her.
“Normal is over-rated, honey. Don’t be ashamed to be different.”
“Then I’ll stick with Hades,” I said, giving her a smile. “He’s different, and I like him.”
It could have been the story that I heard growing up as a child. It could have even been the Disney version of Hercules, when Hades was given blue hair that started my admiration for him. I always felt a tug toward him that I couldn’t understand. There were several paintings that littered my room, filled with black oil paint and faces that longed for love and daylight. He was something that I had created in my imagination, and I desperately wanted for him to be alive and real.
But I knew they were only stories.
“Why do you like him so much?” my mother asked me one evening when she came into my room and caught me painting his dark face. He was a mix of colors, all washed in water and coal dust. He was my perfect creation.
“I feel like he knows me,” I uttered, lost in the painting, washing his eyes with a blue paint that seemed to encase the loneliness that I knew he suffered. In those dark caverns, filled with spirits and doom, I knew that my God wanted to have more than what he already knew. He wanted to taste love and companionship. When I looked up, I saw my mother giving me a weird look and I knew I needed to explain and find the words to describe the connection that I felt.
“I don’t know, Mom. I guess it’s like that God-human connection people get with Jesus.”
“Jesus and Hades are two very different people, Summer,” my mother said in a stern voice.
“Well, yeah. Hades is a God,” I said with a smile.
“I don’t think your obsession is healthy.”
“I’m not obsessed, and I’m not worshipping him or anything.”
“What do you call that?” She pointed to my painting in front of me. My hands were all black from the watercolor when I glanced at my work. “Or that?” she said when she pointed to the collection of other paintings leaning against the wall near my bed; my dark love.
“A creative outlet.” I said with a smile.
“You need to let that go,” she said, shaking her head.
“Why do I have to let it go? He’s not a bad person or anything,” I argued.
“He’s the God of the Underworld, Summer. Don’t you think that classifies him as a bad person?”
I shook my head and lowered my brush onto my desk and lifted the half-painted drawing to show her. “He didn’t choose the Underworld, Mom. If you remember right, Zeus took the Universe, Poseidon chose the oceans, and that only left Hades with the Underworld.”
“I already know the story, Summer,” she murmured, leaning her body against my door.
“He’s not really a villain at all. He’s just the keeper of souls. Without death, there can be no life.” I said, trying to defend him.
“You really need to find a new hobby, Summer. Or a new God to fantasize about.”
“Why should I? You’re the one that worships all of them. I just love one.”
“I don’t make my whole life about them.”
I lowered the painting back down onto my desk and shook my head. “Yes, you do. Have you taken a look at our house? They’re everywhere. You and Dad have made this house into a temple of your own.”
“And you’ve made your room into a temple for Hades. How do you think that looks to us?” She shouted, lifting her hands into her hair. I could tell that she was frustrated and was about to "let me have it." My mother made accusations that she was going to "Let me have it one day." Maybe today would be that day.
“Dad doesn’t think that,” I argued back.
“You don’t know what you’re father thinks about you.” She accused as she closed the door behind her in disgust; her disgust echoed all around me.
“I guess that leaves the two of us.” I whispered, glancing back down at my painting.
My dad was more willing to understand. He loved all the Gods – loved learning about ancient Greek culture, and mythology. He loved Apollo and Hermes; probably more so because he could relate to what they were Gods of.
“What do you think that says about me?” my dad asked one evening, while we were driving back home from one of his Greek artifacts exhibits. We had all been comparing Gods and Goddesses, and I was extra careful not to ruin the conversation with any mention of Hades.
“That you like order and being the middleman to everyone,” my mother said with a smile. I saw my father wink at my mother under the orange glow of the highway streetlights. It was true. My dad often played the middleman in between my mother and me in fights. He was usually the only reason why we made up. There had been plenty of nights when my father came into my room and tried to apologize on my mom's behalf, or beckoned me to come to their room to talk to her. He'd sit on the edge of the bed and coax me out with stories of Greece, of his childhood, and sometimes even with stories of the Gods and Goddesses that he claimed no one knew about. I had always suspected that there was more to them then what was written in countless books, and my dad was the only clever man who knew about them.
My attention snapped back to the present, as I thought of something. “Do you know when Dad will be back from Greece?” I asked my mom, as she drove past the “Welcome to Point Judith,” sign.
Point Judith was a small town at the southern-most point of Rhode Island. It was beautiful; the kind of beauty that you find on post cards with tall, white lighthouses and lobster boats. It was a quiet place. The only sounds at night were of dinging bells on the buoys, and the silent waves that crashed onto the white, powdery beaches. I couldn’t wait to pull my shoes off and walk around in the cool evening sand.
“He’s going to be there for a few more days. He’ll be back Wednesday night.” It was only Friday. I did the math, counting down the days in my mind. That meant Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday alone with my mom. I anticipated it would be a long couple of days. Days filled with my mom trying to do things with me, while I'd try and escape; searching to do anything but what she'd plan. She liked to go into town and look at other people's gardens. She liked to go to farm festivals, if she could ever find one near the shore, and spend hours looking at their fresh produce and greens, commenting on how well or poor their harvest had been. I'd count the hours on my wristwatch, hoping for some relief in the hours to come. Just as all mothers seemed to do, from what I observed from the few tourists that trekked to Point Judith, and from the high school classmates, my mother was notorious for pulling me around, station to station, talking about my schooling, the things that I was doing, and the things that she hoped I'd do in the coming years. She wanted what was best for me - a good education and a good head on my shoulders to face the world with once I was done with school. I wanted to focus on the few more years I had before I had to face those realities. The only highlight was the promise in the coming days for me: the chance to run away after dinner to the shore, and spend the last few hours of daylight lost in the strokes of my paintbrushes, the colors of the night sky and the images of faces and scenes in my mind.
“What do you want for dinner?” my mother eyed the local McDonalds as we slowly drove past it. I already knew she wanted to stop there and eat, and not have to be bothered to cook anything when we got back to the house. She hated to cook. She’d much rather be out in her gardens planting and weeding, than being bothered to take the meat out of the freezer and prepare it and have to plan side dishes and desserts. She’d rather pay for someone else to do it for her. There was a joke that if my father ever died, my mother and I would most likely starve, if there was no such thing as take-out or drive-thru’s.
“Dad didn’t leave you any TV dinners in the freezer?” I asked, amused. She gave me a small smile and shook her head. “I’ve been eating them for the past two days. I think I could use some real grease in my system.” My mother didn’t hesitate to make the decision for me. She pulled into the U-Turn lane and went back to her favorite grease-filled fast food stop.
About the Author:
Chantal Gadoury is young author who currently lives in a small town in Delaware with her two cats, Theo and Harper and her boyfriend, Robert. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting, and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, this is her first book.
Tumblr for Book: http://sevenseedsofsummer.tumblr.com/